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Long Day's Journey Into Night-Or How to Travel with Dogs and a Toddler!

I haven’t had very many superwoman moments in my life.  I haven’t rescued anyone from a burning building, saved kittens up a tree, pushed anyone out of the path of a moving vehicle, but I did just travel over 700 miles with two dogs and a toddler.  And I did it all alone. I think that qualifies me for some title, although it may just be Stupid Woman

 

I was more than a little perturbed at my husband that I had to go it alone.  He had work obligations, he said.  How convenient, I thought.  If our daughter says she wants to drive 500 miles to see us, he spends nights checking the weather, and if there is so much as a minor snow shower on the horizon, he insists she fly.  Me, on the other hand, can load up two wheezy French Bulldogs and one toddler still in diapers and “off you go” is what I get as I back out of the driveway.  Actually, I would have been happy with an off you go, by the time I got going on the morning I left, he had already left for work. 

 

It may not be normal, but as I pulled away from the driveway that day, I felt like I was cheating on Fudge and Vern.  The whole thing started when my mom started to go downhill.  I was supposed to go to NC and babysit my grandson for ten days.  My daughter had a work conference/vacation planned for quite some time.  When my mom started getting really sick, I told Megan that I could not leave and they would have to bring the little guy (and he always comes with two dogs) to me and somehow, I would work it all out.  It doesn’t sound right to say as luck would have it, but mom died two days before they were leaving to bring him to me and they were able to come for the funeral and Megan could still attend her work conference and add on vacation as scheduled. 

 

I had planned on watching my grandson at my house the whole week and on paper that sounded like a good idea, but the reality was anything but relaxing.  Fudge and Vern get walked every day no matter what.  Just like that commercial on TV where the sick dad asks the kid for a day off and you get the impression that is only a pipe dream, Vern gives me the same answer when I ask for a day off.  My family thinks it is all in my head, but when Vern doesn’t get his walks, we pay for it during the night with a more active Vern.  So, even though I had one toddler and four dogs I felt compelled to somehow find a way to still walk my dogs.  I had planned on leaving the bulldogs home, but poor Bonzai was so sad when his people left that I just couldn’t do it.  I kept imaging how I would feel if I knew Fudge and Vern were left behind.  And before anyone tries to tell me dogs don’t think like us, and this is just me acting like my dogs are human and there is a name for that…. Anthropomorphism…..I am going to tell you the same thing I told my husband….put a sock into your big worded mouth. I know it’s true and if I had left Bonzai and Jazz, after the initial weeping was over, they would have turned to one another and said, “I want my mommy!”

 

Walking all four dogs and a toddler, who periodically thought he needed to be carried, proved to be my undoing.  At one point, Archer was just about hanging upside down and getting closer and closer to the sidewalk as I tried to maneuver four dogs and not drop him.  It might have been in his best interest to wear a helmet on our walks, but since we didn’t have one, we carried on as best we could.  In another life I am sure Fudge was royalty and she seemed to prefer that the Frenchies keep two paces behind her at all times and not touch her.  If they ventured too close, Fudge would do this crazy leap in the opposite direction, which almost always meant four leashes ended up in a tangle and me biting my tongue not to yell out a series of cuss words.  Keep in mind, Jazz has this amazing talent of being able to hump Bonzai while they walk and it was safe to say between the leaping and humping, we had our own carnival act going on.  Combine all this with the fact that John kept coming home late from work and I soon came to the realization that if I was on my own, I wanted to be on my own in NC with only two dogs and one toddler.

 

Which brings me to the day I broke Fudge and Vern’s heart, by backing out of that driveway without them.  I almost cried and kept thinking they were the ones saying, “My mommy is a traitor!”  I have to be careful who I share that information with, because not everyone understands.  We made it 47 miles before a little voice from the backseat yelled, “diaper change!”  I tried to explain to Archer we had a long haul ahead and I would be calling all the shots from this point on, but all he said was, “diaper change!”  So, we stopped and every stop after required a brief walk for the Frenchies to do their business, a lift back into the van for them, the unbuckling of a two year old from a car seat that made me long for the days when we rode backwards in a station wagon in our parent’s car, and the re-buckling of the same two year old who thought arching his back and giggling would be fun for grandma.  BUT, and I cannot say this enough, Archer was the best-behaved human in that car that day and was near perfect.  We had no tantrums, no screaming to be let out of his car seat, and the only real problem was he knows his movies by the characters and couldn’t understand why grandma didn’t know that Max meant turn on The Big Hero.  We quickly adopted a “point to the one you want” method and solved that problem.

 

It took us from 9 am to 1 am to reach our destination, only because we encountered a bad accident along the way that required me turning around on a steep and muddy median, and added about 3 hours to our time. Even then, when we were stuck in gridlock traffic for well over an hour and I was close to hyperventilating, I heard a little voice from the back seat say, “are you ok, memaw?” and I knew I was going to be just fine.  By the time we arrived at Megan’s, one of us was sleeping, and one of us was very tired.  As luck would have it, Megan’s cat had been saving up a weeks worth of meows for anyone who opened that door and never caught on the entire week that, “be quiet, Rocky,” really meant I was thinking about making him an outdoor cat for the duration of my visit if he meowed in my direction one more time.

The good news is we all survived and when I walked in the door after it was all over, Fudge and Vern seemed to hold no grudge towards me that my adventure with the Frenchies and Archer did not include them. Absence does seem to make the heart grow fonder or maybe it grew fonder because my Doodles need no help getting on and off beds and couches.  Either way, I think I slept for two days when I returned.  It’s not easy being Super Woman.

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Comment by Laurie, Fudge, and Vern on March 13, 2017 at 11:25am

Thanks, DJ. I am glad you enjoyed it!!

Nicky, Please do....it took me almost two weeks to get over the fact that he let me make this trip alone. Pepa was a bad word to me for a few days...LOL.

BG, I like that....Captain Memaw :) I am so glad the trip is behind me. It was a long one.

Comment by DJ & Chance on March 12, 2017 at 8:23pm

Oh, Laurie.  This is your best--and your blogs are superb.  So much quirky humanity here.  Love!

Comment by Nicky, Riley & Boris on March 3, 2017 at 5:00am

What a journey, that was no mean feat... I will be having  words with your hubby when I meet him next ;)

Comment by BG and Gavin on February 22, 2017 at 4:41pm
OMD I am exhausted just reading. I think it's a big deal when I walk Gavin with his friend Mylie or his pal Cooper all on my own and have gone to great lengths to bribe my dh to accompany me. You are indeed a superhero. Captain Memaw?
Comment by Laurie, Fudge, and Vern on February 19, 2017 at 12:47pm

Thanks, Becka. You know me so well :) John will be paying for this forever! LOL

Thanks, Kathy!!

Comment by Becka on February 19, 2017 at 12:28pm

Totally heroic, Laurie! And the best part is that you can hold it over your entire family's heads for YEARS to come!

Comment by Kathy and Mahru Schuyler on February 19, 2017 at 10:47am

It may not be easy being Super Woman, but you do it so well!!

Comment by Laurie, Fudge, and Vern on February 15, 2017 at 6:35am

Thanks, Carol. It was fun to go, but always great to come back home :)

Jane, Thank you! I actually like the drive.....by myself :) LOL

Comment by Carol and Banjo on February 15, 2017 at 6:10am

Oh my gosh Laurie!   This is now my all time favorite blog.    You are indeed a Super Hero!!!!    My grandson went through a phase of "carry me" at certain points on outings.   I can NOT imagine doing that AND walking 4 dogs too!    The visual in my mind of your walks makes me LOL.       I'm glad you're home, safe and sound and your "kids" have you all to themselves.    

Comment by Jane, Guinness and Murphy on February 15, 2017 at 5:00am

Laurie, you truly are Super Woman.  There is no way I could have done this.  I hate to drive...12 hours in a car would be the end of me.

 

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